EPL Greig Under 18 Cup match photo


Jim Taylor

The final of the Middlesex FA’s EPL Greig Under 18 Cup was played on Thursday, 18th April at the Skyline Roofing Stadium, home of Northwood FC. The teams involved were Celtic U18 Red and Brentham Colts U17 Red. Both teams are members of the Harrow Youth League and play in the Premier Division of their respective age groups.

Our Under 18 Youth Cup was first competed for in the 1968-69 season, when it was won by Edgware United.

53 teams entered the competition for the current season.

Celtic U18 Red reached the final with victories over Ickenham Youth Red (7-5 at home) in round 1, Acton Ealing Whistlers Youth Red (3-2 away) in round 3, Ickenham Youth Sharks (6-3 at home) in the quarter-final and Enfield Borough (Youth) U18 Panthers in a penalty shoot-out, after a 1-1 draw in their away semi-final. They had a walk-over against Brunswick U17 in round 2. 

Brentham Colts U17 Red’s progression to the final was particularly impressive. They beat Ruislip Town U17 Red (4-1 away) in round 1, Hampton Rangers Juniors U17 (6-1 at home) in round 2, Brazil Development Youth (8-1 away) in round 3, The GAP Red (4-2 at home) in the quarter-final and Enfield Town Youth U17 (4-1 at home) in the semi-final.

Both teams played stylish attacking football and they both contributed to a very entertaining game. Brentham Colts fully deserved to take the trophy but the large margin of their victory did not accurately reflect Celtic’s part in the game. They had at least an equal share of the possession and lengthy spells of the action were played out in the Brentham Colts’ penalty area. There were many occasions when the Colts had to repel a succession of Celtic corner kicks. An important reason for the Colts’ success was the outstanding contribution of goalkeeper, Mateo Frankic Ruppen, who performed brilliantly throughout. His handling was superb and his punching was clean and well directed, especially when dealing with the many vicious in-swinging corners that came into his goal area.   

Brentham Colts went ahead in the 11th minute and scored again in the 31st and 37th minutes to lead 3-0 at the interval. They added 3 more goals during the first 17 minutes of the second half to make the final score 6-0. They are to be congratulated on a magnificent cup campaign, especially as they are an under 17 side. During their 6 matches, they scored 32 goals and conceded only 6.   

There was some early action in both goalmouths. A good turn and run by Celtic’s Emmanuel Buck-Atsuvi was successfully defended. Then Colts’ Michael Azoo drove just over the bar from 30 yards. Celtic keeper, Ali Alayan, came out to clear from Jaden Smith 

Brentham Colts went ahead in the 12th minute, through Yuvraj Gill, who netted following a long freekick into the penalty area by Joseph Daly.

Yuvraj Gill (21) puts Colts ahead

Celtic hit back and Finbar O’Sullivan played a good ball through to Caiden Hall, whose shot was off target. Finbar then released Emmanuel but Mateo Frankie Ruppen left his box to kick clear.

Michael Azoo worked through the Celtic defence but his shot was blocked and then another of his efforts was gathered by the keeper.

Mateo Ruppen gathered Emmanuels’ shot from just outside the penalty box.

Joseph Daly’s low shot was cleared off of the Celtic goal-line. Then Yuvraj Gill’s shot was blocked by Millad Dost.

Colts doubled their lead in the 32nd minute through Arran Dhillon, who was released by William Fox’s through ball.

Arran Dhillon (9) hits Colts' second goal

Arran scored Colts’ third goal from close range in the 38th minute, following a corner.

Arran Dhillon (centre) nets Colts' third goal

Celtic hit back and forced several consecutive corners, which were dealt with by Mateo Ruppen and his fellow defenders. Colts’ Liam Henry saved a dangerous situation by conceding a freekick at the cost of a yellow card, just outside his penalty area.

A high save by Mateo Ruppen

Half-time score: Celtic U18 Red 0 Brentham Colts U17 Red 3

Yuvraj Gill’s shot from 35 yards was tipped over the crossbar by Ali Alayan.

However, Colts increased their lead in the 54th minute. Yuvraj set up Jaden Smith, who was tripped in the penalty area. Liam Henry converted the spot kick.

Jaden Smith (7) is tripped in the penalty area

Liam Henry scores from the spot to make the score 4-0

Jaden Smith shot straight at the Celtic keeper from close range but soon afterwards, in the 59th minute, took the ball through to score his team’s 5th goal. 

Jaden Smith nets Colts' fifth goal

Three minutes after this, Yuvraj chipped his 2nd goal and his team’s 6th.

Yuvraj Gill chips...

... Colts' sixth goal

There were no further goals but plenty of action, mainly at Brentham’s end of the pitch. The Brentham keeper and his defence were kept very busy, especially by Finbar O’Sullivan’s in-swinging corners but they managed to keep a clean sheet.

A timely tackle in the 83rd minute by Hassan Mustafa on Charlie Godfray, prevented Colts from adding to their score.  

Final score: Celtic U18 Red 0 Brentham Colts U17 Red 6

Referee, Rohan Chotai had a very good match and he was well supported by his team.

The Guest of Honour was Middlesex FA Director, Barbara Bivens. Barbara was introduced to the teams and the match officials before the kick off and presented the Cup and individual mementoes, on the pitch after the game. She chose the Brentham Colts goalkeeper, Mateo Frankic Ruppen as the Player of the Match.

Mateo Ruppen receives the Player of the Match award from Barbara Bivens

Our thanks are given to Northwood FC for allowing us the use of their excellent facilities for the game and to Chairman, Ian Barry and his colleagues, for their warm welcome.

The winners with the cup


Celtic U18 Red: Ali Alayan, Millad Dost, Caiden Hall, Jackson Payne, Hassan Mustafa, Emmanuel Buck-Atsuvi, Francesco Pass (capt), Finbar O’Sullivan, Conor Nugent, Tyler Birch Campbell and Mikhail Rose.

Rolling substitutes: Jedye Boakye, Darren Oyerinde, Musa Sa’id, Giovanni Anang and Edward Flewitt.

Manager: Denis Nugent 

Coaches: Chis Tamou and Abdul Sa’id.

Brentham Colts U17 Red: Mateo Frankic Ruppen. Benjamin Moffat, Finlay Bistany, Solomon Dahanayake (capt), Jaden Smith, Arran Dhillon, Michael Azoo, Joseph Daly, William Fox, Yuvraj Gill and Liam Henry.

Rolling substitutes: Charlie Godfray, Tom O’Flaherty, Rohan Dhawan, Nathan John and Mhamed Boukhelida.

Manager: Ian Bruley   

Coach: Jeevan Johal.

Referee: Rohan Chotai 

Assistant Referees: Kacper Ignatiuk and Jatinder Sira   

Fourth Official: John O’Kane.

Attendance: 272.

Report: Jim Taylor

Photography: Chris Benn